I’ve always hated good-byes.  Soldiers off to war, families separated by work or states, or continents, kids off to college for the first time, and now this one…leaving Costa Rica.  Tearful airport scenes practically bring me to my knees whenever I see them depicted in movies or as thoughts of that final moment approaches for me here,  the one where you know there’s no turning back.  The one where you know God holds tomorrow in His hand.

Sometimes it sure feels like there’s really nothing “good” about saying good-bye.  But then, the me that wants to give everything the most positive spin possible looks for the loopholes in that thinking.  After all, there was once “hello” that moment when you met, or that moment when you suddenly felt “found”.  There was that day when your world intersected with another person or another place in such a way that it was like a homecoming and nothing in the world could change that.  Not even leaving.

What else is good?  There’s the good in all the memories you get to carry, dance cards filled up with life’s sweet songs of times spent together, talks that went long into the night, poured forth like so many glasses of wine.  Those things are yours forever then, nothing can take those away from you, even something like saying good-bye.

There’s the good in the idea that you’ll find a way to stay connected no matter what.  You’ll take advantage of Skype and email, phone calls and visits promised somewhere down the road.  Those have some appeal, those are even true, but still the lingering understanding that now everything really changes is still clear.

Okay, so there’s the good that comes from change, from the fact that you’ve grown and learned many things together, and now you’ll explore the world a bit more, learn more things separately and have more to share when you’re together again.  That can be good.

Charles Schultz expressed my sentiments on this subject when he wrote, ” Why can’t we get all the people together in the world that we really like and then just stay together?  I guess that wouldn’t work.  Someone would leave.  Someone always leaves.  Then we would have to say good-bye.  I hate good-byes.  I know what I need.  I need more hellos.”

So maybe that’s the answer to take it from hello to hello.  Even Jesus had to comfort the ones He was leaving behind.  He promised to be with them always, to come back for those He loved.  Maybe that’s the good part.  We too can promise to be with each other always, in spirit, in memory, in hearts of love, and then look for the day when we can return with a big hug and a hello.

Hello, Costa Rica…you have my heart.

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